Monday, March 2, 2009

Well, it's March.

As February was winding down, I realized that sometime soon, it was bound to be March. That the calendar page would flip, and we would be in that month, whether I liked it or not. 

I was under the impression that I was fine with it. Aside from the few days last week when I was trying to track down Eli's death certificate, I have rallied well. I was throwing myself wholeheartedly into planning for Seth's benefit concert in April and, even sooner than, that, my big thing that starts next week (Hint...it involves alliteration). I was doing well!

And....then I woke up Sunday morning, heard the kids up and playing, Seth beginning to stir in his bassinet. I opened my eyes, considered the date, and promptly closed them again. I did not get up then, and I did not get up an hour later when Ava came in to say good morning. I just...slept. 

It wasn't restful sleep, though. It was the sleep of an avoider. It was the kind of sleep where you wake every so often to look at your phone to see how many hours you've managed to kill; how many hours you've been able to escape reality. 

Right after Seth was discharged from the hospital I slept like that a lot. I knew he couldn't hear, but we were still waiting for the official diagnosis. The morning I had the appointment for his full evaluation, I slept until the last moment possible, threw on clothes, and headed out with him. While I didn't know it for sure, I think I had a pretty good idea that I would come home from that appointment with a different life than I left with. 

I spent this date, two years ago, in the hospital, IVs of magnesium sulfate running through my veins. My lively, active baby was trying his hardest to get out, and the doctors were trying their best to stop him. I was in between 31 and 32 weeks. If only we'd all known that he would had a better shot just being born early. If only I'd known that all those pills, the IVs and the strict bedrest would not pay off the way I hoped...I would have begged them to let him be born and take his chances. At least he would have had a shot. 

But I didn't, couldn't know. So I started out March on bedrest in the hospital, staring at a painting of a baby laying on his mother's chest as they rocked in a hammock, wondering if Eli would look like him. I spent the days listening to Eli's heart rolic along smoothly. He never had one single deceleration or irregularity. In the 160's, all day long, all night long. I spaced my day out with my boring, diabetic meals, thinking for hours about what tasteless sugar free dessert I would order with my next meal. I tested my bloodsugar seven times a day. I looked forward to the times Ava and Jace would come visit, and once they were there, slightly uncomfortable, afraid of all the tubes and wired, I looked forward to them leaving and going back to their regular life at home with my mom. Just a few more weeks, and we'd be home free. I just had to make it to 35 weeks and they'd let me deliver. I was already 5 cm dialated. 

They sent me home from the hospital the day I was 33 weeks. I spent the next two weeks home on bedrest, just waiting for the 35 week mark. I went into labor again twice, the last time when I was 34 weeks 6 days. The nurse said she had to give me terbutaline...I was 24 hours too early. She gave me 6 shots of terb throughout the night, then they sent me home. I was so tired, too tired to fight it, to question anything. 

I was finally 35 weeks. I felt like shouting for joy. I saw Eli on an ultrasound, kicking, doing practice breaths. My doctor smiled at me and said "His non stress test is perfect! You're free and clear! I know it's been hard, but it's worth it!"

I went home, and by late that night, I was in labor. In the early morning my water broke, and I took a shower. Eli kicked, on the left side of my stomach, under my right hand. We left, stopped to get the nurses special donuts, and drove five minutes to the hospital. 

He was gone. As soon as the nurses put the monitors on, I knew. I have never heard nothingness echo so loudly. I didn't even need the image of him, so unnaturally still, on the ultrasound machine they brought up. It was over. I couldn't wrap my brain around it, and no one would say the words. They offered to give us time, and I remember shouting "Time for what? You have to tell me!" Not even my doctor would say it, make it real. Finally I said "Just tell me he's dead. Someone has to say it." The doctor said "Well, he's not alive."

I hate March. What a useless month. All that work, all that waiting, for nothing. 



(Yes, I know that was a melodramatic entry. I'm in a melodramatic mood tonight.)

22 comments:

M J said...

Nothing I can say will make it better, but I will pray for you.

Mandy & Jeremy Hall said...

Right there with you--especially the last sentence..... all that work.... for a set of empty arms....

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

Thank you for your honesty. Losing a baby hurts like nothing I ever imagined. I hate March right now too. It was my daughter's due date. She was stillborn in Nov. However, I need to love this month too b/c my son turns 5 this month. Bittersweet.
I'm thinking of you and praying for you.

Mandy and Jack said...

That. Just. Sucks. I want to punch something and hug you at the same time. Well, not at the same time, because that would be awkward. First the hugging, then the punching. I know where we can find a bunch of punching bags though!

Seriously, though, you are an amazing woman. The kind of woman I want to become.

My birthday's in March, if that gives you something to enjoy in March. :)

I'll be praying for you, sweet friend.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Hi, I don't know you--but I have been reading your blog. I can only echo what everyone else has said--there aren't words enough and I am so so sorry you lost your beautiful baby.

Your faith and love for God is inspiring...

Shanda said...

One thing I love about you is that you are able to articulate your sadness. You recognize what kind of "sleep" you are having...I know it comforts hearts who have shared your pain and allows them to grieve in ways that they need to.

That said, my heart just aches for you...If I could, I would just crawl into bed next to you and we could both pretend to sleep for awhile (NOT in a weird way, please don't misunderstand that comment! LOL!) Just in a friendship way that I am willing to just be with you when you are sad and need to let hours pass for awhile but don't really want to be alone. I get that. I've been there (not with the loss of a sweet baby, but in other losses of life.)

I am praying even now that God will be active in allowing you to catch glimpses of His purposes and that He will bring comfort and peace to your heart - He is the only one who fully can...and He loves you El.

avbernat said...

I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to write that, but as therapeutic as well. To convey your emotions so candidly and to seek comfort in all that surrounds you. El, I know that there is nothing that anyone can say on this blog that can lift the emotional weight on your shoulders, but remember and ALWAYS remember this... that you are an inspiration in so many ways. I've never met you but in your words I find strength, a mother's love so incomparable to any other love, and know that Eli was ever so lucky to be with you... to be within your womb... in the womb of a mother who's love for him still rings on. I pray and pray that through time, your hurt will lessen but your memories of Eli will (all the kicks, the punches, the anticipation, the sadness, EVERYTHING) serve it's purpose in your life. What a wonderful mother you are to ALL of your children... you are and always will be an INSPIRATION!

Trish said...

I'm sorry doll. You've certainly earned your "melodramatic post." (I didn't actually find it to be so. Simply a sad memory.)
Thinking of you..

--Trish

Erin said...

So sorry about the loss of your sweet Eli. I know your heart breaks for him. May you find comfort knowing he is with our sweet Jesus! I pray for you today. love and blessings from ga~erin

Julie said...

I guess I didn't realize you were on bedrest for so long & kept going into labor. Could the doctors ever tell you what happened?

You will be in my thoughts & prayers this month. Hang in there.

Aimee' said...

I'm so sorry Ellyn. I will be praying for peace for you. The flowers here in Texas are starting to bloom!! I picked a rose off of my rosebush before I left for work this morning because it's just the deepest red and the bloom is just huge...and it's in a plastic cup (classy, i know) on my desk at work now...and I can't help but to think of Eli when I look at it now that I've read this post. He is still so full of life...and he is blooming so beautifully in Heaven!! I wish I could give you a big ol Texas size hug!!

The Soldatke family said...

Ellyn,

I've been following your blog so some time now (since around your 100th post I believe, because that one touched me to the core)and I think I found you through MckMama, maybe??? But you have touched my heart. I enjoy reading your posts so much.
This post was written so beautifully. As a Labor and Delivery nurse, I see all too tragic things happen. But your story is one I will never forget.

I just wanted to de-lurk myself. I also wanted you to know how much your 100th post meant to me. I have a child who was born with special needs nine months ago, and my faith has been tested and strengthened, and when I have bad days and the devil is trying to make me wonder why God would do such a thing to my baby, I go back and read your post. Jesus loves me! and he loves my darling Matthew more than even I do.

So mainly I just wanted to say thank-you and keep writing! And so you know that I'm not a crazy stalker :) or something; I do keep a blog at soldatke6.blogspot.com

I'll be praying for you during this oh so hard month!
Jill

Sonya said...

There are no words that can make it better. I just want you to know that I will be thinking and praying for you. Thank you for sharing your story.

Momma Mango said...

Wow, I can't imagine. Well, I can imagine, but its so hard to grasp... They sent you home the day before... Makes me want to scream. :(

Saying prayers for you.
Susan

WendyCarole said...

I am so so sorry. How do you bear it? You are in my thoughts and prayers constantly

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry, El. Your post made me very sad today. I hate knowing that you are feeling this way :( I wish I could give you a BIG HUG!

You are in my thoughts... and I hope March moves quickly.

...The Obnoxious SAHM.... said...

From one blog stalker to another... I am deeply sorry for your loss. I can only imagine the pain you have had to endure. I pray that you have peace this difficult time. Here is a ((HUG)) from your new friend and follower. Donna - a.k.a. Obnoxious SAHM

4 Lettre Words said...

Oh, El...I know your story, but everytime I read it, I cry. I was in the same boat with Sam. All those shots, bedrest, etc. starting at 31 weeks. And, for me and Sam, it worked out "just right". So, I don't even know what to say.

Know that I am always praying for you and your family. You are such an inspiration to me. And, I truly hope to give you a hug sometime soon!

Liz (Loving Mom 2 Boys) said...

I know I am a day late. I can't imagine what you have gone through. My heart is aching for you, I can't even fathom how difficult this month must be for you. You will be in my prayers this month - you will be in my thoughts daily. I hope you are able to find some peace and comfort.

Cristi said...

I am so sorry you had to go through that. When my daughter lost her baby boy it was March too. The doctor never told her either. The sonogram machine was on and they just left it there and waited for her to say it herself. I thought that was pretty cruel. It's a completely horrible memory. But now we have a miracle baby and wonderfully she came home from the NICU last March!

Les said...

He's your son. Don't forget that. You carried him and he is your beautiful boy! God will use you to be able to minister to other mother's because only in going through it could you understand another's pain. We love you El and Eli.

R. from way across the pond said...

I have no children, I have never experienced a loss of this magnitude. I cannot imagine what you felt,what you are still feeling.
I have no words, no wisdom to offer.
I can only hope and pray with all my heart that in the midst of your grief, God's love will shine stronger and brighter on you carried through the eyes and mouths of your children, your husband, your loved ones.
Eli's all too brief story in this world is a story of love and devotion. Your love. And that will live on forever.

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